What is it about?

In this article we deal with regulation without rules/norms. This is a type of regulation intended to influence people’s behaviour without recourse to rules/norms, and without directly altering the “normative environment”. We will call this second form of regulation (without rules/norms) “rule-free regulation”. To avoid any misconceptions, we stress that by “rule-free regulation”, “regulation without rules”, we mean “ruling without introducing new specific rules focused on the behaviour we want to influence”, not “ruling without any rule at all in place while trying to influence such behaviour”.

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Why is it important?

We argue that regulation has a wider scope and reach than normativity and deontology. Rule-free regulation may, in effect, be defined negatively (ex negativo). It is: (i) neither a kind of nomic – normative – regulation (i.e. it is not a regulation by/with norms/rules); (ii) nor a kind of deontic regulation (i.e. it is not a regulation by/with deontic categories). In the first place, rule-free regulation is a regulation “without norms/rules” (i.e. an anomic/non-normative regulation) in that it is deployed without reference to norms/rules (whether these are regulatory or constitutive, typologically speaking, or verbal, visual or other, phenomenologically speaking). In the second place, rule-free regulation is “adeontic” in nature, in that it presupposes an understanding of neither the concept of “ought” (and of the associated categories) nor of the existence of obligations (or of other associated normative entities).

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This page is a summary of: Rule‐free regulation: Exploring regulation ‘without rules’ and apart from ‘deontic categories’, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, May 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jtsb.12291.
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